THE lights are to be turned off one day a week at one Camelford pub, and replaced with candles, in a desperate attempt to save on soaring energy bills.

Venues across Cornwall say they are struggling to survive with the increased costs making running an establishment difficult.

And some have had to come up with creative ways to stay afloat.

The Masons Arms in Camelford, has gone as far as to solely use candlelight on Mondays, to draw more punters in while keeping critical costs low.

Landlady, Kate Chawner-Woods has been pushed to the limit by skyrocketing energy bills, after her August statement increased from an average of £700 in 2018 to over £3,000 this year.

She said: “When I opened the electricity bill I thought ‘how are we going to cope’.

“It was really scary and we were so worried about how this winter was going to pan out - it’s a massive increase, our electricity bill isn’t much less than our rent now.”

An off-the-cuff comment from one of the local punters gave Ms Chawner-Woods the idea of candlelight Mondays.

She said: “I was moaning and cursing when I got the bill through when one of the locals turned around and told me to just turn the lights out, go back to the way it used to be.

“So that got me thinking and now we’ve gone back to using only candles on a Monday, like how it would have been when the pub opened in 1753.

“At 6pm we cut out all the lights - people really like it, we had 65 covers last Monday which is far more than we’d usually get on a Monday in October.

“The atmosphere is great, everybody seems to like it - it’s romantic and people seem to talk to each other a lot more, it’s really lovely.”

It’s too soon to say how much money their new scheme will save them, but Ms Chawner-Woods predicts that their next bill could be four per cent less — despite heading into winter.

Other measures they’ve taken include changing all their lightbulbs to LED, cutting down on fridge and freezers and not using electric heaters in the winter months.

“The warmth of the candles actually means we don’t need the heating as much.” Ms Chawner-Woods said. “It was toasty in here last month, so if demand continues we want to do it on another weekday as well.

“It’s important that we do this because coming to the pub is a really important part of some of our locals lives.

“It’s hard for everybody right now, not just businesses - everyone is suffering.

“We want people to be able to come to the pub and spend some time in the warmth because it might actually be cheaper than heating their own homes.”